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Prince Wibble of Wibblania: Even more children’s book reviews

December 21, 2011

I feel like the Sisyphus of book reviews.  Even if I caught up on the 800-ish reviews I wanted to get done by the end of the year, every day I will be reading more ANYWAY, so I sigh and I cry and I whine.

On the other hand, I made vegan Twinkies last night and they came out pretty good so I should count my blessings.  1) Vegan Twinkies.  2) I get to read a lot.

I’m going to try to knock out a bunch now.  Starting with the dreaded Strawberry Shortcakes.

I’ve complained about them before, with good reason, but I have to say, sometimes they’re not that bad–and sometimes they’re even worse.  Basically, if you take them away from the gender-ridiculous remade world of Berry Bitty City or whatever stupid name it has now, it’s not so bad.  But once they’re in their roles, doing the girliest of all girly things, I get annoyed.  So Strawberry Shortcake’s Spooky Night isn’t so bad, because they’re in the woods for most of it, but Makeover Madness is terrible because everyone’s upset when their hair isn’t “perfect.”  And by “perfect,” I mean isn’t the way they always have it, or close to it.  What’s REALLY insulting about the whole thing is that one of the girls ends up with a fro, and that’s considered to be awful.  Sigh.  Bitty Berry Bakers was bad, too, although not AS bad. I GUESS.

What also disappointed me were the Corduroy books I got.  They’re board books, but apparently the board book Corduroy and the picture book Corduroy live in two completely separate universes.  Board book Corduroy seems less of a teddy bear and more a cartoonish character who lives in a world surrounded by his doll friends.  Which I find creepy.  Your child may not.  Corduroy, Corduroy Goes to the Doctor, Corduroy’s Valentine, and Corduroy’s Fourth of July are all two-star books.  In other words, “they’re okay.”  But they’re no Corduroy: TOS.

We also got The Life and Work Of series.  These are non-fiction books for children about artists.  The books include Michelangelo Buonarroti, Leonardo daVinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Frederic Remington, Mary Cassatt (apparently the only female artist of worth), Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Paul Cezanne,  and Paul Klee.  The books are okay, with some better than others, but none standing out as exceptionally well-done.  Bizarrely, some of the artwork is censored, but Photoshopped in such a way that you wouldn’t know unless you were familiar with the work.  Be prepared for your child to go “BWUH?” when they see the real thing, if this is their introduction to the artists.

I also replenished the board books with some new ones and some reorders, including some from the My First Board Book series.  Again, some are better than others.  I especially liked My First Number Board Book.  Sometimes, I noticed, the books have photographs, and other times there are realistic-looking (but not completely) drawings.  Strange.  ABC, Word, and Colors are all good, with Animal (and its drawings/photo hybrid) being my least favorite of the bunch.

In case you think I’m just all negative all the time, I really enjoyed the First Facts: Data Mania books I got: Lions and Tigers and Graphs! Oh My!; Pigs, Cows, and Probability; Sorting Fur, Feathers, Tails, and Scales; with Lions being the weakest of the series.  I got Analyzing Doggie Data too, but it’s not in my section, which makes NO sense to me.  They’re awesome.  You should get them, or buy them for your child’s classroom or something.  You get introductions to Venn diagrams, which are my favorite ever since I learned about them in, uh, college.  Seriously, I don’t remember them before college.  But now I embrace them and use them to chart what I’m watching on DVD/Netflix with my family.

(I’d post it here, but it’s ridiculous.)

What If There Were No Grey Wolves? and What If There Were No Lemmings? are two from a series about ecological dependancy.  They’re definitely Easy books for the older kids, but they’re smart and well-done.

…and now I just realized that for some reason Excel has all my names down by one, so the authors of the books may be wrong.  ARGH.

Okay, I fixed it with the help of someone else, but my time’s up.

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